Smile Foundation trains NGOs to turn fund-raisers into ‘fun-raising’ events

merinews (16th April 2013)

Twenty-six Non Profit Organizations (NGOs) were trained in various sessions to build up their own sustainability during a two-day grassroots NGOs meet, organized by Smile Foundation at Tivoli Garden Resort Hotel in New Delhi.

The meet, aptly called as “Empowering Grassroots” was held on April 9, 10 in which grass root-level NGO founders from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu & Kashmir participated.

The interactive sessions were presided over by various well known trainers, and Smile Foundation’s COO Mr. Vikram Singh Verma delivered the keynote address on the first day of the meet. Talking about the sessions and the event, he said, “Smile Foundation underscores the fact that helping is not simply a matter of dispersing money; but making a long-term commitment and casting a hard eye on results. We aim to identify, handhold and build capacities of genuine grassroots NGOs to achieve accountability, sustainability scalability and leadership.”

The NGOs discussed their problems, hurdles, initiation and innovation in the work in their respective fields. One of the NGO founders from Jammu and Kashmir said he started by teaching kids who used to accompany their labour parents to the place of their work and that is how Ankur Vidyala happened. Innovative ideas like selling newspapers and raising lakhs of rupees by another NGO was also applauded by everyone.

Taking about the event, Verma said, “Smile wants all these grassroots NGOs to be adept in their communication skills so that they can showcase their credibility and get the maximum benefit from philanthropists.”

In an interactive session, speaker, Ms. Sweta Luthra, CEO of Orange Cup Solutions shared how fundraising by NGOs can be “fun raising” and the various other ways in which effective communication could be the road to a good resource mobilization. Psychological hurdles such as people do not want to associate themselves with NGOs as they do not want to be termed as ‘poor’, alienation of kids from their family after getting education from NGOs; were also talked about.

Swatantra Gupta, National Manager (Resources ) Smile Foundation, during the most important part of the session, taught these NGOs that how they can involve local support for sustainable fundraising and better fund utilization to be self sustainable. He also explained about the 5C model for building organizational competencies of these grass root NGOs.

NGOs, such as Jupiter Academy, Nai Disha, Inna Raja, Ankur Vidyalya and Arohan, who are co-partners with Smile Foundation, had their own presentations and queries, and qualified trainers tried to provide solutions to those queries. The event was also important for partners so that they could get a feel of the people they interact with on a daily basis.

Smile Foundation, which is into four main sections of the society- education, health, livelihood and empowerment of women – wants holistic approach towards the problems associated with all the above mentioned issues. Talking about the same, Mr. Verma said, “We invest in not just a child’s education but in his health, his mother’s health and his livelihood so that generations can be taken care of by investing a particular amount of money.”

For the people, who want to do some charity, Ms Luthra had an important message: “They should not be concerned as to what happens with their money after it is being donated. A person should give away to a credible NGO like they give to a corporate house so that impact is deep rooted,” suggested Ms Luthra.

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